A sharp ringing in my ear accompanies my slow breaths and the freezing sensation that takes over when I glance at the note, a script font I recognize as Marcus’s.
How the fuck did he leave a note? And when? I read his message and then read it again. The psychopath speaks in riddles.
You took my pawn. I have another.
The game hasn’t stopped. It’s only changed slightly.
Just remember, the king can only hope to be a pawn when his queen is gone.
Every hair on my body stands on end after reading the note, knowing he was here. How the fuck did I not see him?
“What’s wrong?” Carter asks me as I reach for my phone, needing to tell Seth and everyone else what happened and get security footage immediately.
But Seth’s already texted me.
And I sit there motionless in my seat, reading what he wrote as Carter bites out my name, demanding an answer I don’t have to give.
We found the sister.
Marcus has her.
I can’t stop reading. When I do, I have to face reality and I’m not ready to face the consequences of my decisions yet. I’d rather get lost in the pages.
Every time they kiss, I think of Jase Cross.
I think I love him.
I love my enemy.
Why couldn’t I be like the characters in this book? Why couldn’t I be like Emmy and fall for the boy who loves her just as much and the only thing they have keeping them apart, is whether or not they’re both still breathing?
Why did I have to fall for a villain? Maybe that’s what I deserve. Deep down inside though, I don’t think I even deserve him.
Books are a portal to another world, but they lead to other places too. To places deep inside you still filled with hope and a desperate need for love. Places where your loneliness doesn’t exist, because you know how it can be filled.
Jase isn’t a good man, but he’s not a bad one either. I refuse to believe it. He’s a damaged man with secrets I know are lurking beneath his charming facade, a man with a dark past that threatens to dictate who he will become.
And I think I love him.
I can’t bring myself to tell him that. I just had the chance a moment ago when he told me he wasn’t able to come tonight because he was with his brother and Carter needed him.
But he still asked if I needed anything. I could have told him I miss him. I could have messaged him more. Instead, I simply told him I would be ready for him when he wanted me.
The constant thumping in my chest gets harder and rises higher. I have to swallow it down just so I can breathe. This was never supposed to happen. How could I have fallen for a man like him?
I’m drowning in the abyss, and he’s the only one there to hold me. That’s how. I need to remember that.
He made it that way, didn’t he?
The sound of the radiator kicking on disrupts the quiet living room. I take the moment to have a sip of tea, careful not to disturb the open book in my lap. The warmth of the mug against my lips is nothing compared to Jase’s kiss.
With my eyes closed, I vow to think clearly, to step back and be smart about all of this. Even though deep inside, I know there is no way that means I could ever stay with Jase Cross, and the very thought destroys something deep inside of me. Splintering it and causing a pain that forces me to put the cup down and sink back into the sofa, covering myself with the blanket and staring at the black and white words on the page.
It all hurts when I think about leaving him.
That’s how I know I’ve fallen.
The Coverless Book
“Kiss me again?” Emmy’s voice is soft and delicate. It fits her, but she’s so much more.
“You like it when I kiss you?” I tease her and that bright pink blush rises up her cheeks.
“Shhh, she’ll hear us,” she says as her small hands press against my chest, pushing me to the side so she can glance past me and toward the hallway to the kitchen.
“Miss Caroline knows I kiss you.” I smile as I push some strands of hair behind her ear, but it falls slowly. It should be her mother who Emmy’s afraid will catch us. But her mother is never here.
“Maybe go check on her?” Emmy asks, scooting me off the chair. “See what she’s doing and if we have a little more time?”
It’s her elation that draws me to her. There are some people in this world who you love to see smile. It makes you warm inside and it feels like everything will be all right, if only they smile.